Understanding legislator experiences of family-friendly working practices in political institutions

Peter Allen, David Cutts, Madelaine Winn

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Family-friendly (FF) working practices in political institutions have attracted scant attention from scholars, arguably reflecting the scarcity of their implementation. Using a survey of legislators and qualitative interviews, we examine for the first time how satisfied elected members of two new legislatures (the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament) are with FF working practices. We offer four possible explanations—parenthood, age of the legislator, sex, and the distance between the legislator's constituency and the legislature—for the variation in satisfaction. Our findings suggest that being a woman and having a greater distance between legislature and constituency exerted significant negative effects on legislators' satisfaction with FF working practices. In contrast, legislators over age 60 were significantly more likely to be satisfied with FF working practices in the new legislatures. We conclude by outlining future research avenues for comparative scholars of gender and politics interested in the effectiveness and resilience of FF working practices, in particular highlighting the importance of looking beyond the parent–child caring relationship to other caring and domestic obligations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-572
JournalPolitics & Gender
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2016


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